Charnwood Forest covers an area of some nine by six miles, roughly bordered
by Loughborough to the north, Markfield to the south, Coalville to the
west and Mountsorrel to the east. Within this area there are many woods
of varying size and age, and Leicestershire's few remaining fragments
of heathland/upland moorland. The majority of the woods are private, but
parts of most can be viewed from public roads or footpaths. The most popular
and accessible sites are:
are car parks (£1.00 charge) at SK
537 117 and SK
537 129, and public access to the wood at all times. Please keep to
the main footpaths, as the shrub layer in the wood has been seriously
eroded over the years by the effects of visitors (and their dogs) straying
from the paths. Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers may be seen anywhere in the
wood, but are elusive and uncommon. Wood Warblers used to be regular,
Woodcocks at dawn or dusk in spring and summer is the spoil tip adjacent
to the disused slate quarry at SK
539 121. Pied Flycatchers are a possibility in spring, but are more
likely to be seen at Beacon Hill (see below).
Beacon Hill Country Park
Situated north-west of Woodhouse Eaves, there are two car parks (£1
charge) at SK
510 146 and SK
522 148. The park is divided roughly into two habitats: woodland at
the eastern end, and bracken-covered 'heathland' at the western end. The
main ornithological interest of the woodland is the small number of Pied
Flycatchers which has appeared in the last few years, but all the common
woodland species may be found, with occasional Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers.
The heath holds several pairs of Tree Pipits in summer, but not much else.
The beeches around the western car park sometimes have good numbers of
Bramblings in invasion winters.
These conifer plantations, north of Newtown Linford, are in various stages
of being felled; consequently some of the clear-felled areas are worth
looking at for species such as Tree Pipit, Siskin, Woodcock and hopefully
Woodlark and Nightjar in the near future! Benscliffe has in fact already
had a churring Nightjar (in 1999), but sadly it did not return in either
of the following two summers. Crossbills have also been seen in these
woods in invasion years, and Buzzards are now resident. The elusive Charnwood
Ravens are also a possibility anywhere in the area. All the woods are
private, but parts, including several felled areas, can be seen from public
roads, at: SK
511 112, SK
502 117 and SK
509 128, amongst others.
wood lies south of Loughborough, on the Nanpantan - Woodhouse Eaves road.
There is a car park at SK
515 159, and several footpaths throughout the wood. Species are similar
to those at Swithland Wood.